A Tribute to Russell

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A Tribute to Russell

Welcome to Christianity Oasis. This is A Tribute to Russell from our Sojourn With Luz Leigh Collection. We hope you enjoy this enlightening reading and it helps you on your own be-YOU-tiful Christian walk.

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Sojourn With Luz Leigh

A Tribute to Russell, The Praying Railroad Man

Written by Luz Leigh - 10 July 2007

A few years ago my husband's family gathered in a rural area of East Texas for a family reunion. This became a family tradition. Different families conduct family reunions in different manners. Some families rent a big hall or church fellowship building, complete with air conditioning and kitchen facilities. Restrooms are readily available. Well, not this family. We meet at one of the relatives' home out in the country on land that has been in the family for generations. Huge shade trees provide shelter from the sun and porta-potties are there as restroom facilities.

The picnic tables are covered with casseroles, big pots of fresh grown peas or beans, and homemade yeast rolls. Then there are the homemade pies and cakes. The meat is prepared by the male relatives who get together on Friday night preceding the gathering on Saturday. They fire up a huge BBQ pit and proceed to cook briskets, chicken, and sausage.

On the appointed Saturday morning cars, vans and trucks began to stir the dust on the country road as we arrive. Some travel several hundred miles; others just drive across the pasture. Kids ride their bikes, racing to see if they can get to the reunion site before their parents do. There will be a few of the older generation who come smiling at all who greet them. Each of the older ones is thinking in their hearts, "This may be my last reunion here on earth."

Those of us in the "middle" generation have fond memories of the gatherings in the past. The youngsters are wondering, "Why am I here?" The answer to that is simple: you are there because this is a part of your heritage. You will learn to love and appreciate the family gatherings.

When all the foods have been laid out on the long tables under the trees, or inside the huge metal building that is used in inclement weather, the family gathers to give thanks for the food, and also for the family and fellowship we will enjoy. One year many of the group were talking and did not hear the host when he said we were going to have the blessing. Not to worry. Cousin Edith (who was in her 50s at the time) climbed up on one of the tables where we would sit to eat our meal, put her fingers in her mouth, and did that shrill whistle that will almost wake the dead. When she had our attention, she said, "Everybody be quiet. Russell's gonna pray." And Russell prayed.

At family reunions was not the only time Russell prayed. You could tell by the way he spoke to the Lord; asking the Lord to bless the food as nourishment to our bodies and our bodies to His service. I missed a couple of the reunions because of health reasons and I regret it now. You see, Russell, won't be saying grace, asking the blessing or whatever term you want to use, at the reunions any more. Russell caught the angel train Sunday morning and rode into heaven on the train that God sent for him.

For many years on earth Russell had been employed by the railroad company that services our area of the state. He was well known among his peers and well respected.

When his health failed, he and his wife, Edith, enjoyed a few years in retirement on their country place. But Russell will never be truly gone for he left behind a portion of himself in his children and grandchildren who will forever love and remember him.

If I ever get to attend another family reunion, it just won't be the same without Edith yelling out, "Russell's gonna pray." But I would like to think that on the day of the reunion Russell will be sitting in the engineer's seat, blowing the whistle, telling the angels, "Those East Texas rednecks are about to pray. Listen up."

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